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UPDATE 1-Palestinian PM, government resign

Updated: 29-01-2019 16:34 IST
UPDATE 1-Palestinian PM, government resign

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah has tendered his resignation and that of his unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas, he said on Tuesday, dealing a blow to faltering reconciliation efforts with Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers. The government will continue to carry out its duties until a new one is formed, it said in a statement issued after a weekly cabinet meeting.

There was no immediate comment from Abbas, but his Fatah faction, at a meeting he chaired two days ago, recommended that the government be replaced. A Hamas official condemned the move as an attempt to marginalise and exclude the group from Palestinian politics. Hamdallah, a little-known academic, headed the national unity government formed in 2014 and led the West Bank-based Fatah's reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007.

The two groups signed a reconciliation deal two years ago which set in motion a plan for Abbas's Palestinian Authority to resume governing in Gaza and take up control of the coastal enclave's crossing points into Egypt and Israel. But disputes over power-sharing and disagreements over policy towards Israel have hampered the deal's implementation.

(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Ed Osmond)